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The Choice for Revolution
The Stamp Act
John Adams' Choice

John Adams writing attack on Stamp ActJohn Adams hated the Stamp Act, calling it an "enormous Engine ... for battering down all the Rights and Liberties of America." But he also hated mob violence; destroying someone's home was "a very attrocious Violation of the Peace and of dangerous Tendency and Consequence." Adams chose a middle ground, hoping that the British would listen to reason and repeal the Stamp Act.

He took his first step into politics, writing a protest for his hometown, Braintree. The document -- known as the Braintree Instructions -- attacked the Stamp Act for taxing colonists without giving them political representation in Parliament. Forty other towns adopted the document.

Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. John Adams would later write in his Autobiography that "good humour was in some measure restored." But the calm would not last.

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John & Abigail Adams American Experience

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